Dave Reichert Versus the AARP

Why the Republican rep is targeting seniors.

Kicking their "job creation and budget cutting" can down the road yet again, a trio of congressional Republicans led by none other than Washington's Dave Reichert are busying themselves with finding people to punish for supporting the year-old health-care-reform law. And what group have they come up with, in their infinite wisdom? Old people, the AARP to be exact—an organization representing some 37 million people, nearly all of whom always vote. The Eighth District's Reichert and Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) and Charles Boustany (R-La.) recently released a report claiming that the AARP only supported President Obama's health-care-reform efforts because it knew the program would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue through insurance partnerships. Never mind that the bill guarantees coverage for all Americans, which has been one of the organization's principal goals for decades. The Congressmen want the IRS to investigate the AARP. And really, they want lawmakers to strip it of its tax-exempt status. Reichert says that the group is only looking out for its bottom line—the bottom line that allows it to function as the advocacy juggernaut it is. "The real overarching question here that I think that seniors across this country should be asking AARP is, who are you working for?" Reichert said. "Are you with the seniors of America? Or are you out to make money for AARP?" The AARP functions in two distinct ways—as a lobbyist for senior-related issues, and as a kind of "branding organization" that lends its name to certain products (namely insurance plans) for a cost. It's this dual role that Republicans believe should disqualify the group from tax exemptions. Sort of like how they're also calling for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to lose its tax-exempt status for supporting the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which stands to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to its corporations through their ability to anonymously contribute to political campaigns. Right? Wait, I'm being told that Republicans have made no such demands.

 
comments powered by Disqus